Perryville Restoring Historic Tavern to Serve as Modern Day Anchor to Revitalize Town

Perryville has been busy leveraging its cultural resources as a way to revitalize the municipality over the past year or so. They’ve applied for Preserve America grants that restore historic sites and provide for the development of programs to draw tourists into the nation’s old towns. The town council has also been involved in other elements of restoring vitality in the old town center, including developing a vision and plan and working on the waterfront.

This morning we read that they’ve taken another step. The state has awarded a $125,000 grant to complete the restoration of Rodgers Tavern, a colonial era landmark in the town. “The tavern will serve as a modern day anchor for downtown Perryville revitalization and provide public access to the water front,” the Baltimore Sun reported.

As officials in some Cecil County municipalities work to bring economic vitality back to the old town centers there must be a vision followed by the implementation of a systematic strategy. It could be that the focus is to create a large center of employment on our Main Streets so that at lunch time there are workers strolling downtown for shopping and meals. But in Cecil County that idea doesn’t seem to be too practical, especially in today’s climate and as the larger employment centers move outside the old towns. But the idea of leveraging one’s history and culture so that a Main Street has a unique ambiance and can compete in a different way with Walmart is one that still seems to have potential when applied diligently. That is provided enough resources have been protected and remain in a community.

Some towns in Cecil County have effectively leveraged their old buildings and sense of place, communities like Port Deposit, Chesapeake City and North East. Too, take a look at the larger region and see which downtowns are successful. While there will be a range of contributing factors, places like Chestertown, Easton, Havre de Grace and Kennett Square draw on that unique sense of place and those heritage resources to a great degree.

Congratulations to the Mayor and Commissioners of Perryville for considering the opportunity to draw on one of the river town’s resources. Someone Noticed thinks they’re on the right track with this strategy and would hope for municipalities see this potential.

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5 responses to “Perryville Restoring Historic Tavern to Serve as Modern Day Anchor to Revitalize Town

  1. Thanks, Mike, for this notice on what’s going on in Perryville. This would be a good time to remind your readers that ten years ago the town of Elkton and the Historic Elk Landing Foundation began a restoration project at Historic Elk Landing. Today, the Hollingsworth House first floor and most of its second floor are restored and the old Stone House is stabilized and open for limited tours. This spring the foundation resumed First Saturday of the Month Open Houses. These events are not program heavy, but instead, are opportunities for visitors to roam the beautiful grounds, take in a little history, and generally have a relaxing time along the Little Elk Creek. The next open house will be Saturday, August 7th between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

    • Publius thanks for updating us. I’m always pleased to see that some town’s value cultural resources and heritage tourism as a strategy for revitalization. I’ve always thought that downtown Elkton has some potential to leverage this asset, say walking tours downtown, programs on the historicla aspects of the marriage industry, preservation of its historic assets, etc. But I don’t seem them including tht in the downtown revitalization strategies, the way many other places do. Elk Landing as great potential and we once estimated that it would bring nice crowds to town once it was opened on a regular basis seasonal with living history programss every day. Perhaps that will eventually happen.

  2. Mike: DREAM ON!!! The only thing the elected and appointed big thinkers in Elkton and the County do is devise ways to move small and large businesses and governmental operations OUT of TOWN. I read in the Whig this morning that the Chamber of Commerce is planning on selling its building and moving. I wonder what the chances are that they will stay inside the dying and depressed downtown district? As for promoting the towns historical marriage district connection, the time to have made that rapidly fading association has long ago passed—thanks to the stuffy, blue nose town elders that did all they can to erase the villages flamboyant romance history. Let’s be honest, Elkton as a tourist magnet is DEAD and the county and town officials and their developer cronies all had their hands on the sledge hammers that drove the stakes through the town’s heart.

    • Zogloba: I agree the challenges are growing much more difficult with each passing year, particularly as over the past decades opportunities have been lost. Some serious stakeholder building needs to be done so there is wide community input and then some relastic assessment work has to be taken under consideration so that an appropriate vision and plan is in place.

  3. That Zobobo is right. They waited to long to start getting some business here. How come they werenot doing something before?

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